Boys Tennis: Arocho directs Loyola to Catholic League crown
Loyola's Anthony Arocho at the Catholic League boys tennis championships in Wilmette. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 29, 2012 8:16AM
What a backhand this kid has. And the way he uses so much in a game of tennis, you might think that it was Anthony Arocho’s favorite shot.
Arocho won the No. 1 singles title Friday at the Chicago Catholic League tennis championships. The Loyola sophomore handled Fenwick’s talented Brian Hickey in straight sets 6-2, 6-1. That victory helped the Ramblers claim a team title with 38 points. Fenwick was second with 34.
Arocho pounded his backhand at Hickey most of the afternoon. What the Fenwick senior might not have known was that Arocho has plenty of power in both his hands.
“I’m a traditional left-hander,’’ Arocho said. “I am a pitcher in baseball and I throw left-handed.”
There is no baseball on his mother’s side. But there is plenty of tennis.
“My mom coached tennis in Scotland,’’ he said. “She came here and got married so it runs in my family.”
Loyola tennis coach Tom Fitzgerald knew he was getting a good tennis player when Arocho fed into the school from Harwood Heights.
“He plays year-round,’’ Fitzgerald said.
Arocho wasn’t sure he was going to break into the starting lineup at Loyola but first had to make a decision between tennis and baseball.
“I had to choose between them going into high school,’’ he said. “I had some ideas and hopes going into my freshman year. I hoped I could play No. 2 singles.’’
Now a conference champion and earning some notice across the state, Arocho is aware he needs to expand his game. After all, his backhand can’t win every match.
“I need to get a more complete game,’’ he said. “I need to try and come forward to the net. I’ve learned that it’s a big team effort being on a high school team.”
Arocho has had a strong sophomore season. He noted he went three sets with Batavia’s Josh Cogan, who is the school’s career wins leader.
The Ramblers got a victory from No. 3 singles Patrick Rourke, who did it the hard way. After dropping the first set 6-1, Rourke rallied against a St. Ignatius player and won the last sets 6-4, 6-0.
In No. 2 doubles, the tandem of Franco Capitanini and Jake Sexton won a 6-3, 6-4 decision over a pair from Fenwick.